A “massive” year for Damian Lane could reach even greater heights in coming weeks as the jockey bids to add the Cox Plate 2019 and Melbourne Cup to his list of major race wins.
The win was not without incident, with Lane suspended for careless riding in the home straight on Mer De Glace and fined $20,000.
Lane’s year has included a successful two-month stint in Japan where he was a regular in the winner’s circle – including a couple of Group One victories on the JRA circuit – leading to his major spring chances in Melbourne on two Japanese visitors.
“It’s been a massive year,” Lane said.
“I pinch myself, just the opportunities that have fallen my way.
“I’ve certainly had my fair share of luck and it’s been great to be able to convert that into some good wins.”
Lane won two Group Three races on Mer De Glace in Japan and suggested to connections he would be suited to the Caulfield Cup.
“To ride him over there, then have some input on him coming here and then for it all to come together, it’s just a massive result,” he said.
Mer De Glace’s win at his first Group One start, has only added to Lane’s confidence heading into Saturday’s $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on Lys Gracieux.
The mare is a dual Group One winner in Japan, including the Takarazuka Kinen in June with Lane aboard.
“She has raced at the highest level in Japan and obviously won,” Lane said.
“And I think a big thing with her is you probably have a little bit more confidence with her because she has travelled well and has run well before (Hong Kong), whereas Mer De Glace was coming into the Caulfield Cup being his first time away from Japan, so there were a few question marks.
“She’s a top quality mare and she seems in very good order. I worked her during the week at The Valley and couldn’t be happier how she felt and how she looked physically.”
Mer De Glace is now second favourite for the $8 million Melbourne Cup 2019.
“Obviously the 3200 metres is going to be a big challenge,” Lane said.
“He had never been past 2200 metres before the Caulfield Cup so that certainly poses a challenge but you’d be crazy not to have a go the way he went.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au